History Book Reviews (page 936)

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 1993

"The story of a shrewd, observant, daring, and hardheaded man who always gravitated to interesting people and issues: both an autobiographical cliffhanger and an important historical document. (Nineteen b&w photographs)"
A priceless Old Left memoir by Shipman (1895-1989), who began as a student activist and became a founding member of the Mexican Communist Party and an intimate of leftists and literati around the globe. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: June 1, 1993

"A effective overview of the Senate's history and development, making clear how reform of this once-august institution could profit the country immensely."
An important, if ponderous, inquiry into the Senate's evolution, its periods of influence and decline, and its urgent need for self-reform. Read full book review >

VOLUNTEER SLAVERY by Jill Nelson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 1993

"Told with passion and honesty: a story as much about the African-American experience as about the corporate conformity of most big-city papers. (First serial rights to Essence)"
Black journalist Nelson's no-holds-barred memoir is as outspoken about her four turbulent years at The Washington Post as it is about her troubled personal life. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 1993

"Drawing on a great number of interviews, some with Vogel himself, Whitney offers a fascinating new perspective from which to view the rubble of East Germany and the secretive world of cold war spies. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen)"
In a Len Deighton novel come to life, Whitney (senior European correspondent for The New York Times) tells the engrossing story of the trade in human lives conducted by cold war adversaries in a divided Berlin. Read full book review >
THE RISE AND FALL OF THE HOUSE OF WINDSOR by A.N. Wilson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 1993

"A thinking person's irreverent, entertaining, and knowledgeable guide to the monarchy."
Wilson (Jesus, 1992, etc.) turns his attention and considerable wit to the crisis of Britain's Royal Family—elevating the tabloid debate about Diana and Charles and the rest of the clan so that we see them as players in the possible collapse of the monarchy itself. Read full book review >

THE FIFTIES by David Halberstam
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: June 1, 1993

"Compulsively readable, with familiar events and people grown fresh in the telling."
In The Best and the Brightest, The Powers That Be, and The Reckoning, Halberstam proved that he can master intimidating subjects with aplomb—and in this massive tome on a convulsive decade in American life, he meets with equal success. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: June 1, 1993

"Without this information, Hibbert can't escape the besetting vice of much narrative history—that it so often seems like just one cursed thing after another. (Eight-page photo insert)"
A rollicking, if not always enlightening, narrative history of the English Civil War, by the prolific Hibbert (The American Revolution through British Eyes, 1990, etc.). Read full book review >
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: June 1, 1993

A superb analysis by King (Religion/Vanderbilt University), a renowned scholar of Far Eastern religions, of the curious marriage between Zen Buddhism and samurai fighting. Read full book review >
THE WISH FOR KINGS by Lewis H. Lapham
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: June 1, 1993

"Eloquent, piercingly intelligent essays crying out against America's Orwellian future."
The editor of Harper's and author of Imperial Masquerade (1990), etc., reaches the top of his form in five distinguished essays arguing that too few Americans any longer care or know enough to protect and nurture democratic institutions. ``[The] habits of liberty have fallen into disuse,'' writes Lapham, ``and the promise of democracy no longer inspires or exalts a majority of the people lucky enough to have been born under its star.'' America has devolved into an oligarchy, the argument begins—an argument buttressed with facts, figures, and observations—and the nation's collective frame of mind has changed as well over the past 30 years from that of ``democrat'' to that of ``courtier'': from a citizenry that understands government to be what the governed make of it to a citizenry that passively and obsequiously seeks favors and dispensations from the high and unresponsive powers that be. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: June 1, 1993

"An important, well-documented study that deserves attention."
A forceful analysis of attempts to deny the Nazi Holocaust. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: June 1, 1993

"If Piersen can't consistently provide jolts of new understanding, his compilation of materials remains readable and interesting throughout."
Piersen (History/Fisk University) looks at selected areas of American culture from a perspective that offers an occasional convincing surprise, as he focuses on African traditions and social mechanisms that reached the New World (including the Caribbean and Latin America) with the black slaves. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: June 1, 1993

"Brilliant, evocative, riveting."
It's hard to imagine any book on the last years of Communism in the Soviet Union surpassing this one by Remnick, who covered the events for The Washington Post. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >